Kayaking: Local paddling & multi-night expeditions

Kayaking with Fair Play gives a unique opportunity to get off the beaten track.

Experience the tranquillity of the river and the fascinating wildlife in and around Janjanbureh and the River Gambia National Park.

With friendly professional guides, trained by UK instructors, we offer trips to suit all levels of fitness and experience.

From half-day local paddling through to full descents of the river from Fatoto to Banjul.

Each trip is tailored to your ability and interests, with lodge accommodation, bush camping or village homestays available.

Alternatively, enjoy the comfort and luxury of being escorted by our live-aboard pirogue, The Fula Princess.

Expert guides can offer basic instruction and safety assessments for beginners.

Expert tuition

LOCAL PADDLING

Fun on the water

*Start early to beat the heat of the day or go later for a sunset experience.
Paddle with your guide to the end of the Island looking for hippos, monkeys, baboons and birds on the way. Stretch your legs at Kunkiling Forest Park or Bird Safari Camp before heading back to Janjanbureh. (£30 per person)

Kayaking on the river Gambia

Paddle West past the end of the island to Six Junctions, a collection of uninhabited river islands around which you have a good chance of seeing hippos, monkeys, baboons and great birdlife. Go ashore at Manna Sandbanks for a packed lunch, cold drinks and a walk around the bush.

Relax under the mango trees during the hottest part of the day before heading back to Janjanbureh. (£50 per person)

Canoeing

Depart Janjanbureh early in the morning heading West. Along the way, you will hope to see hippos, monkeys, baboons and incredible birdlife. You will have the chance to park the kayak and stretch your legs at various points along the way including Manna Sandbanks and Barajally. Enjoy a packed lunch at the riverside and reach the River Gambia National Park (aka Baboon Islands) by around 3 – 4 pm, when the chimps often come down to the water's edge. After seeing the chimps, continue to the wharf town of Kuntaur and take road transport back to Janjanbureh before dark. (£90 per person)

* Prices for local paddling include equipment hire, guiding, packed lunch (full days only) and entry fees to parks and road transport where applicable.

MULTI-NIGHT EXPEDITIONS

Our expeditions are built around your interests, time available and fitness levels. Below are a few of our favourite trips but please feel free to contact us to discuss other expedition possibilities. 

How about a kayaking/hiking/cycling adventure? 

For Strong Paddlers and People who like a Serious Challenge

Kayaking

Full day and Overnight: Janjanbureh, River Gambia National Park, Kuntaur, Wassu Stone Circles, Janjanbureh

Day 1: Depart Janjanbureh early in the morning heading West. Along the way, you will hope to see hippos, monkeys, baboons and incredible birdlife. You will have the chance to park the kayak and stretch your legs at various points along the way including Manna Sandbanks and Barajally. Enjoy a packed lunch at the riverside and reach the River Gambia National Park (aka Baboon Islands) by around 3 – 4 pm, when the chimps often come down to the water’s edge. Continue on to the wharf town of Kuntaur, where you will spend the night at Kairoh Garden Lodge.

After breakfast, we take road transport to visit the nearby UNESCO World Heritage Site of Wassu Stone Circles before returning to Janjanbureh by public transport by lunchtime.

chimps
Chimps at RGNP

£115 per person (includes packed lunch and evening meal

Day 1, lodge accommodation, breakfast

Day 2, guiding, road transport and entry fees to River Gambia National Park and Wassu Stone Circles).

Kayaking on the River Gambia

Four-day, four-night trip with 3 days of paddling: Janjanbureh, Basse Santa Su, Diabugu Tendala, Sami Karantaba, Bansang, Janjanbureh.

Day 1: Meet your guide in the cultural and historic town of Janjanbureh and feel free to take your kayak onto the river for a quick practice. Travel by public transport to Basse Santa Su, with its bustling market, border town atmosphere and lively local bars. Sleep in lodge accommodation in Basse Santa Su.

Day 2:  Paddle from Basse to Diabugu Tendala. The distance is around 38km. Because the river is tidal even this far East, each day's departure will be timed to benefit from the downstream current. Diabugu Tendala is a two-family village on the North bank of the river at a local crossing point and is a very off-the-beaten-track experience. You will be treated to some local dancing and drumming (especially from the many children of the compound!) and will meet the silversmith with his traditional hand-bellowed furnace. Sleep in a local house or in tent accommodation.

Day 3: After breakfast, say goodbye to the family at Diabugu Tendala and head to Sami Karantaba. Distance approximately 35km. Sami Karantaba Tenda is a village on the river with a small school and a health centre. It is famously where Scottish Explorer, Mungo Park set up his base camp before heading into the African interior.

You will meet the chief of the village, who is also a traditional healer, and visit the small memorial to Mungo Park. Enjoy your evening meal in the chief's compound and sleep in tent accommodation near the river.

Day 4:  Take breakfast by the river and depart towards the provincial town of Bansang, 18km downstream. Have lunch at a riverside lodge in Bansang before heading on to Janjanbureh, a further 18km on. Celebrate your successful expedition with a cold drink at Musa's Garden Riverside Lodge, where you will spend the night.

Red Colobus

£380 per person (includes meals from lunch on Day 1 to evening meal on Day 4, accommodation, guiding, road transport, and a donation to communities in Diabugu Tendala and Sami Karantaba).

For Less Experienced Paddlers – But Still a Challenge

Kayaking on the river Gambia

Two-day, two-night Expedition: Janjanbureh, paddle through River Gambia National Park to the wharf town of Kuntaur. Road transport back to Janjanbureh.

Day 1: Meet your kayaking guide and take some time to familiarise yourself with the kayak and brush up on your skills, before departing Janjanbureh Island and heading West to Manna Sandbanks where you will stop to stretch your legs and have a packed lunch. From there you will continue on to Six Junctions, a collection of river islands where you might get your first sight of hippos. From Six Junctions it is a short paddle to Sapu / Barajally where you will camp out for the night. Your guide will cook on a campfire and you will enjoy your evening meal under the stars at the riverside.

Day 2: After breakfast, depart Barajally and continue West to the River Gambia National Park (aka Baboon Islands), with the aim of being at the islands at around 3 – 4 pm, when the chimps often come down to the water's edge. After seeing the chimps you will continue to the wharf town of Kuntaur and take road transport back to Janjanbureh.

Your evening meal and overnight accommodation will be at Musa’s Garden Riverside Lodge.

Livestock by the riverside
Livestock by the rivers edge

£190 per person (includes meals from lunch on Day 1 to evening meal on Day 2, one-night tent accommodation, one-night lodge accommodation, guiding and road transport)

Kayaking on the river Gambia

Three-day, three-night expedition (two days of paddling): Janjanbureh by road to Sami Karantaba. Paddle to Bansang and Janjanbureh.

Day 1: Meet your kayaking guide and take some time to familiarise yourself with the kayak and brush up on your skills, before departing Janjanbureh Island by road to Sami Karantaba. Sami Karantaba is to the East of Janjanbureh on the North Bank of the River. It is best known as the place at which explorer Mungo Park made his base before heading into the interior of Africa. Lifestyles are still very traditional and hopefully, you will meet the village chief, who is also a spiritual healer. You will spend the night in comfortable tent accommodation near a memorial to explorer Mungo Park.

Day 2: After breakfast and goodbyes, you will paddle West from Sami Karantaba approximately 18km to Bansang. Bansang is a dusty trading town, typical of upriver Gambia. There are a couple of nice lodges and a bustling market. Accommodation and evening meal will be at a riverside lodge in Bansang.

Day 3: It is approximately another 18km back to the cultural and historic town of Janjanbureh, and you will stop on the way to Kunkiling Forest Park to stretch your legs and enjoy your packed lunch. Once back in Janjanbureh you will disembark at Musa's Garden Riverside Lodge and will be free to celebrate your successful expedition with a cold drink and your evening meal either at the lodge or at one of the island's local bar restaurants.  Accommodation will be at Musa's.

Western Reef Heron
Western Reef Heron

£285 per person (includes meals from lunch on Day 1 to evening meal on Day 3, one-night tent accommodation, 2-nights lodge accommodation, guiding, road transport and donation to community in Sami Karantaba).

Kayaking Support Boat

Our luxurious live-aboard river cruiser, The Fula Princess is available to escort kayaking expeditions at prices starting from £135 per person per day (for 4 people). Sleeps four in perfect comfort or six if you don’t mind squeezing in! Message us for more details.

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